The Burgas Affair by Ellis Shuman
She’s an Israeli data analyst. He’s a headstrong Bulgarian detective. Together they must track down those responsible for a horrific bombing.
In the wake of a deadly terrorist attack at Burgas Airport in Bulgaria, Israeli and Bulgarian intelligence agencies launch a joint investigation. Detective Boyko Stanchev on the police task force teams up with Ayala Navon, a young Israeli intelligence analyst on her first overseas assignment.
The two must establish whether the terrorists were assisted by a Bulgarian crime organization in laying the groundwork for the attack.
It should be a routine investigation, but shadows of the past keep interfering.
Boyko’s interactions with a crime boss pursuing a vendetta against him threaten to throw him off track. Ayala’s pursuit of the terrorists and their accomplices brings up painful memories of a family tragedy.
Boyko and Ayala form a shaky alliance, one that evolves into growing cooperation and affection as they desperately race against time to uncover who was behind the Burgas bombing.
The Burgas Affair is a fictional account of the aftermath of a very real terrorist attack. On July 18, 2012, a deadly explosive rocked a tourist bus at Burgas Airport, killing five Israelis and their Bulgarian bus driver. The terrorists responsible for this murderous attack have never been brought to justice.
Q) For the readers, can you talk us through your background and the synopsis of your new novel?
A) I was born in the United States but moved to Israel as a teenager. I finished high school in Jerusalem, served in the Israeli army, and was a founding member of a kibbutz. I have worked in many professions but the latest is content marketing. My job was relocated to Bulgaria for two years and as a result, my novels are very much connected to Bulgaria.
My new novel deals with the aftermath of a terrorist bombing in Bulgaria, in which five Israelis and one Bulgarian were killed. This happened at Burgas Airport in July 2012. In my mind I envisioned a joint Israeli-Bulgarian investigation. The novel is primarily focused on the interaction between the Bulgarian detective and the Israeli data analyst on her first overseas assignment who have teamed up to track down those responsible for the bombing.
Q) Can you talk us through the journey from idea to writing to publication?
A) The terror attack at Burgas Affair took me by surprise. Although I grew up in Israel and was very familiar, unfortunately, with similar bombings, I never imagined that one could occur in Bulgaria. I kept thinking about this and then my creative mind envisioned what happened the next day. I was sure that Bulgarians and Israelis would work together in this investigation so I came up with idea to write a fictional account of their teamwork. The result is The Burgas Affair, available for download at Amazon with a paperback edition to follow.
Q) What are your favourite authors and recommended reads?
A) I frequently write book reviews and when I do, I usually write about books related to Bulgaria or Israel. I am probably one of the most ‘prolific’ reviewers of modern Bulgarian literature that has been translated into English. That said, one of my favourite authors is Haruki Murakami. I have an entire bookshelf devoted to his books. They fascinate me because they transport me to Japan in a very surreal way.
Q) What were your childhood/teenage favourite reads?
A) I can’t recall having favourite reads as a child, but I did read a lot! As a teenager, my favourite author was Kurt Vonnegut. I especially enjoyed his novels Cat’s Cradle and The Sirens of Titan. I wrote my major high school project on Vonnegut’s writing, although I didn’t enjoy his later works as much. From time to time I come across Vonnegut quotes that prove to me that he was a very talented writer.
Q) What has been your favourite moment of being a published author?
A) The Burgas Affair was traditionally published in 2016. Because I had a lot of connections in the Bulgarian media, I was able to sell the Bulgarian language rights to the book to a major publisher in Sofia. My favourite moment as an author was attending the book’s presentation in Sofia and participating in the book signing there. The novel is now being published in its original English for the first time.
Q) Who has been your source of support/encouragement, throughout the writing process?
A) Today, my creative writing focuses on my love for two countries – Israel and Bulgaria. My wife, Jodie, has been with me all of my adult life in Israel, and she shared the two years of my relocation in Bulgaria, something we labelled our Bulgarian adventure. She has given the greatest support for my writing, and has encouraged me every step of the way. In addition, she reads my writing, makes comments and suggestions, and helps me correct the occasional spelling mistake!
What Inspired Me to Write “The Burgas Affair”
In my crime thriller, The Burgas Affair, Bulgaria and Israel conduct a joint investigation into a terrorist bombing at a Bulgarian airport. The novel is based on a very real terror attack, but the investigation I describe is completely fictional.
One of the questions people ask me when they hear about the book is what inspired me to write it? For me, the answer is simple. The novel is set in two countries I love: Bulgaria and Israel. While there are many novels set in Israel, it is quite unlikely that you will find a novel in the English language with a Bulgarian setting.
I have a particular affinity for anything and everything connected to Bulgaria and that is because my wife and I lived in Sofia for two years (2009-2010). I was on a relocation assignment from my job and we made the most of our stay in Bulgaria. During our free time we explored the country and we were astonished by what we saw. Bulgaria has picturesque villages; a rich culture and history; beautiful forests, mountains, and seashores; and very friendly people.
When we returned to our home in Israel, I couldn’t stop thinking about Bulgaria. I wanted to share my experiences with others, especially those who know nothing about the country. I began writing travel articles about Bulgaria, encouraging people to visit and see how wonderful a place it is.
I also began featuring Bulgaria in my fiction. My first novel, Valley of Thracians (published in 2013), was set entirely in Bulgaria. It was warmly received by many as an introduction to Bulgaria.
My new novel, The Bulgaria Affair, is my second work of fiction to take place in Bulgaria, as well as being set in Israel, my home. My experiences in Bulgaria, and my desire to share them with others, inspired me to write my novels. I hope readers will share my enthusiasm for the country.
Ellis Shuman was born in Sioux City, Iowa, and immigrated to Israel as a teenager. He completed high school in Jerusalem and served for three years in the Israeli army. Along with his wife, Jodie, he was a founding member of Kibbutz Yahel. After working for several years in the hotel industry, he today writes and edits online marketing content. In the years 2009 – 2010, his job was relocated to Sofia, Bulgaria. His writing has appeared in The Times of Israel, The Huffington Post, The Jerusalem Post, Israel Insider, and on a wide range of Internet websites. His collection of short stories, The Virtual Kibbutz, was originally published in 2003. His novel Valley of Thracians was published in 2013. Ellis lives with his wife, children, and grandchildren on Moshav Neve Ilan, outside Jerusalem.
Ellis Shuman Writes: http://ellisshuman.blogspot.com
Ellis Shuman on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ellisshumanauthor
Ellis Shuman on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ellisshuman
Ellis Shuman on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1529444.Ellis_Shuman
**The Burgas Affair has been released on 30th October 2017**